Funny old world: The week's offbeat news

Gold bars... the type of thing you are likely to find lying around on a Swiss train (Sandra FERRER)
Gold bars... the type of thing you are likely to find lying around on a Swiss train (Sandra FERRER)

From proof that footballer Erling Haaland is indeed an extraterrestrial to LA's nauseating stench... Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

- His lips are sealed -

We all know Manchester City striker Erling Haaland is from another planet -- a two million-name petition even called for the Norwegian goal machine to be banned from England's Premier League because "he's a robot, not a human being".

Now Haaland -- who lives on liver and cow hearts -- has confirmed those suspicions by confessing that he tapes his mouth shut at night.

He told a YouTuber his intense nighttime routine involves wearing blue light-blocking glasses for three hours before going to bed, where he then tapes his lips so he breathes through his nostrils.

"I think sleep is the most important thing in the world," he said. "To sleep good, simple things like blue-blocking glasses, and shutting out all the signals in the bedroom" help.

"You should try and tape your mouth. I sleep with it," he added, insisting that his bizarre ritual "really pays off". Who can argue given that he scored a record-breaking 52 goals in his debut season with City.

- Swiss gold -

The rest of the world leaves their bags or their litter behind on trains, but in Switzerland they leave gold bars.

A mysterious stash of 120 found on a Swiss train in 2019 is being given to the Red Cross after authorities failed to trace the owners.

The bullion, which could be worth more than $220,000, was held with wrapping marked "ICRC valuables" in an apparent reference to the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross.

"Since the gold was in a package addressed to the ICRC, it can be assumed that the unknown owner wanted to hand over the gold," officials said.

- Don't monkey with me -

New Delhi has hired 30 "monkey men" to scare away rhesus macaques who have been wreaking havoc in the Indian capital as it prepares to host the G20 summit next week.

The "monkey wallahs" have been mimicking the hoots and screams of aggressive langur monkeys -- and putting up fearsome cardboard cut-outs of the macaque's natural enemy -- in a bid to run them out of town before world leaders turn up.

"We will deploy one man each at the hotels where the delegates would be staying," Satish Upadhyay, the deputy head of Delhi city council, told AFP.

Though revered in the majority Hindu nation, monkeys are a major menace, often trashing gardens, offices and residential rooftops and even attacking people for food.

The marauding macaques are no dopes. When a plastic langur was set up playing recorded cries, it was ripped apart by the rhesus within three days.

- Dead smelly -

Crowds rushed to a botanical garden near Los Angeles to catch a whiff of one of the world's most rank plants, the corpse flower.

The giant Amorphophallus Titanum -- or "Titan's Penis" -- only flowers for a few days, but it leaves quite an impression.

"It smells of rotting flesh," said Huntingdon gardener Bryce Dunn. "It's trying to attract carrion flies to pollinate, so the more it can get that smell out the more flies it attracts."